US MEK rises 5 cents on continued short supply

16 July 2010 23:08  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) contract prices increased by 5 cents/lb ($110/tonne, €86/tonne) on continued tight supply amid broad sales controls, sources said on Friday.

The new contract price range was assessed by ICIS at 95-99 cents/lb. The initiative was proposed for 1 July.

In the meantime, two new price-increase initiatives of 5 cents/lb for 1 August surfaced.

The most recent price increase was in June, and also was predicated on globally short supply.

Contract values have increased by 26 cents/lb, or about 37%, since February - initially on tight supplies of raw material after a spate of cracker outages on the US Gulf coast, and later due to unplanned outages in Europe and Asia.

At least one month-long planned outage is scheduled by Sasol in September at its MEK plant in Secunda, South Africa.

Sources said that could keep the market tight until at least August and perhaps until October if sellers are not able to build inventory sooner.

But a buyer suggested that as much as 20 cents of price gains since early this year could be quickly erased if MEK market balance returns.

US MEK suppliers include Shell, Exxon and Sasol.

($1 = €0.78)

For more on MEK, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry, go to ICIS connect

By: Larry Terry
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